EASTBOURNE, England (Reuters) - Captain Jean de Villiers will return to the South Africa team after a broken jaw in their opening Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Japan on Saturday.
The 34-year-old suffered a serious knee injury in November against Wales and in his comeback test against Argentina last month broke his jaw.
He has recovered, however, to be picked in a side as coach Heyneke Meyer opted for consistency of selection after victory over Argentina in their last game in August.
“He has not had time to find form but people don’t see what he brings on the field. He is a general on the field and we want that against Japan,” Meyer told reporters on Wednesday.
Pat Lambie was preferred to Handre Pollard at flyhalf and Jesse Kriel remained at outside centre.
The need to bring players back from long-term injury also determined some choices for the match in Brighton.
Flanker Francois Louw was selected for his first game in two months and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and prop Coenie Oosthuizen were included on the bench. Neither Du Preez nor Oosthuizen have played for the Boks this year.
15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Lwazi Mvovo, 13-Jesse Kriel, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Ruan Pienaar, 8-Schalk Burger, 7-Willem Alberts, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Lood de Jager, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1- Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16-Adriaan Strauss, 17-Trevor Nyakane, 18-Coenie Oosthuizen, 19-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20-Siya Kolisi, 21-Fourie du Preez, 22-Handre Pollard, 23-JP Pietersen.
Editing by Ed Osmond; email@example.com; +447979846152; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org